Reviewed By Dr. Tan Kheng Khoo
This book is very difficult to read, but if one were to persevere and plough on relentlessly, one will be rewarded by jewels of spirituality not commonly seen today. At the end, the teachings are most profound and explicitly expounded. It is worth the laborious effort.The first chapter covers a historical survey of human consciousness in its evolution up to date. It is named: The Flowering of Consciousness, which according to him puts quite a few people ready to shift inwards the awareness of its very deep connection to the Source. That means dis-identification with the ego and awareness with Being.
Ego: The Current State of Humanity
This chapter starts with a warning that words cover a whole host of sins. You perceive and then you label what you see and hear. This process blurs what you first perceive followed by misconception of the object, because you are dealing only with the surface of the entity. There is so much depth in the entity, which we know nothing about. Beneath the surface, everything is connected with everything else and also connected to the Source of all life. When you first hold on to an object without naming it, you feel its essence, which is the same as your essence or Being. When you do not cover the world with words, a miracle of newness and freshness is experienced by your essential self. One must disentangled oneself with all the forms that one has been mixed up with of so far. This disentanglement is what this book is all about. The faster one labels things the more intelligent one becomes, but the less wisdom one has.
The Illusion of self. The words “I”, “me”, “my” and “mine” are the most frequently used and also the most misleading. “I” embodies the primordial error, a misconception of who you are, an illusory sense of identity. This is the ego. This illusory sense of self is according to Albert Einstein “an optical illusion of consciousness.” That illusory self then becomes the basis for all further interpretations or rather misinterpretations of reality, all thought processes, interactions, and relationships. Your reality becomes a reflection of the original illusion.
If you can recognise illusion as illusion, it dissolves. The recognition of illusion is also its ending. In seeing of who you are not, the reality of who you are emerges by itself. Once you dis-identify with your thoughts, you will experience a shift to an awareness, in which joy and inner peace will be found.
Content and Structure of the EgoThe egoic mind is completely conditioned by the past. Its conditioning is twofold: It consists of content and structure. A child’s toy is an extension of the child because it is ‘mine.’ The unconscious compulsion to enhance one’s identity through association with an object is built into the very structure of the egoic mind. The ego’s existence is structured through identification with an object with a sense of self. So this is part of one’s identity. I try to find myself in things, like my toys, my car, and my house, but never quite make it. I end up losing myself in them. That is the fate of the ego.
Identification with ThingsDo things add something to oneself or do they make them stand out from the crowd? Or do those things create an association with a famous person. By buying such a product one may by some magical act make one become like the famous person. Such a product must logical be expensive to be such an ‘identity enhancer.’ The ego satisfaction is short-lived and so you keep looking for more, keep buying, keep consuming. Things are a necessary and inescapable part of our lives. We need housing, clothes, furniture, tools, and transportation. We need to honour the world of things, not despise it. Does your sense of self-worth depend on things you possess? Do certain things induce a subtle feeling of importance or superiority? Does the lack of them make you feel inferior to others who have more than you? Whatever the ego seeks and gets attached to are substitutes for the Being that it cannot feel. You can value and care for things, but whenever you get attached to them, you will know it’s the ego. And you are never really attached to a thing but to a thought that has “I”, “me,” or “mine” in it. Whenever you completely accept a loss, you go beyond ego, and who you are, the I Am, which is consciousness itself, emerges. The ego is not wrong; it is just unconscious. When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it. Do not take the ego too seriously. When you detect egoic behaviour in yourself, smile. The ego is not who you are. Do not try to let go of things. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them. Just be aware of your attachment to things. This is the beginning of the transformation of consciousness.
Wanting: The Need for MoreThe ego’s identification with having is shallow and short-lived. “I don’t have enough yet,” means “I am not enough yet.” So as having is not sustainable, a deeper and more powerful drive inside is “wanting.” So, the shallow satisfaction of having is always replaced by more wanting. This is a psychological need, which is also an addictive one. Some egos know what they want and pursue their aim with ruthless determination. Most egos have conflicting wants. They want different things at different times or may not even know what they want except that they do not want what is: the present moment. Unease, restlessness, boredom, anxiety, dissatisfaction, are the result of unfulfilled wanting. Wanting is structural, so no amount of content can provide lasting fulfilment as long as that mental structure remains in place. Intense wanting that has no specific object can often be found in the still-developing ego of teenagers, some of whom are in a permanent state of negativity and dissatisfaction. The thought forms of “me” and “mine,” of “more than,” of “I want,” “I need,” “I must have,” and of “not enough” pertain not to content but to the structure of the ego. The content is interchangeable. As long as you don’t recognize those thought forms within yourself, as long as they remain unconscious, you will believe in what they say; you will be condemned to acting out those unconscious thoughts, condemned to seeking and not finding----because when those thought forms operate, no possession, place, person, or condition will ever satisfy you. No content will satisfy you, as long as the egoic structure remains in place. No matter what you have or get, you won’t be happy. You will always be looking for something else that promises greater fulfilment, that promises to make incomplete sense of self complete and fill that sense of lack you felt within.
Identification with the BodyIdentification with gender is the earliest form. Life’s fulfilment is perceived to be fulfilment of one’s gender identity. Physical appearance contributes greatly to who you are: its strength or weakness, beauty or ugliness. So one’s self-worth is bound up with one’s physical strength, good looks, fitness, and external appearance. In some cases, the mental image or concept of “my body” is a complete distortion of reality. A woman may deem herself to be fat, when she is in fact quite slim. Psychologically she becomes anorexic. Conversely if she can feel her body from within, healing is initiated. Those who identify themselves with good looks, physical strength or abilities will experience suffering when these attributes begin to fade. Identifying the body with “I” means inevitable suffering when the body grows old or wither or die. If you do not equate the body with who you are, when beauty fades, vigour diminishes or the body becomes incapacitated, this will not affect of worth in any way. In fact, the light of consciousness can shine more easily through the fading form. In fact a person with an imperfect body, illness, or disability may call himself a “sufferer” in order that he may receive a lot of attention from doctors and others. Now that the ego can identify with this thought form, it does not want to let go. Amazingly, the ego in search of a stronger identity may create an illness in order to strengthen itself through it.
Feeling the Inner BodyWithin the external form (the body), there is an intensely alive energy field. Go directly to your hands and feel the subtle feeling of aliveness inside them. If you hold your attention on the tingling sensation in your hands for sometime, it will intensify. So that you can now feel the “inner hands” simultaneously as you are reading these words. You can now extend your attention to other parts of the body, like the feet, your abdomen, chest etc. Now shift this inner body awareness to a global sense of aliveness (energy from the Source). When you are in touch with the inner body, you are not identified with your body or mind anymore. That means you are no longer identified with form and you are moving away towards formlessness, which we may also call Being. It is your essence identity. Body awareness not only anchors you in the present moment, it is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego. It also strengthens the immune system and the body’s ability to heal itself. Ego is always identified with form. Forms are not just material objects and physical bodies. There are also thought forms that continuously arise in the field of consciousness. They are energy formations, finer and less dense than physical matter, but they are forms nonetheless. To a compulsive thinker, the incessant thinking accompanied with its emotions makes one totally identified with form, being in the grip of ego. Ego is a conglomeration of recurring thoughts forms and mental-emotional patterns that are invested with a sense of “I”, a sense of self. Ego arises when your sense of Beingness, of “I Am,” which is formless consciousness, gets mixed up with form. This is the meaning of identification. This is forgetfulness of Being, the primary error, the illusion of absolute separateness that the turns reality into a nightmare.
The Peace that Passes All UnderstandingSometimes when whatever identification with his sense of self is taken away, anguish and fear gives way to a sacred sense of Presence, a deep peace and serenity. This is a contradiction of circumstances. This is because when forms around you die or death approaches, your sense of Beingness, of I Am, is freed from its entanglement with form: Spirit is released from its imprisonment in matter. You realize your essential identity as formless, as an all-pervasive Presence, of Being prior to all forms, all identifications. You realize your true identity as consciousness itself, rather than what consciousness had identified with. That is the peace of God. The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I AM. Not everybody who experiences great loss also experiences this awakening. Some immediately create a strong mental image or thought form in which they see themselves as victims, an unjust fate. This is a new thought form to identify with, and a new ego is reborn! This new ego is more contracted, more rigid and impenetrable than the old one.
The Core of the EgoAs long as you are identified with the voice in the head and being unaware of it, you take the thinker to be who you are. This is the egoic mind because there is a sense of I (ego) in every thought. This is unconsciousness, spiritually speaking. The content of your mind is conditioned by the past: your upbringing, culture, family background, and so on. The central core of all your mind activity consists of certain repetitive and persistent thoughts, emotions and reactive patterns. This entity is the ego itself. In most cases, when you say “I”, it is the ego speaking, not you. It consists of thought and emotion, of a bundle of memories you identify with as “me and my story” of habitual roles you play without knowing it, of collective identification such as nationality, religion, race, social class, or political allegiance. It also contains personal identifications, not only of possessions, but also with opinions, external appearance, long-standing resentments, or concepts of yourself as better than or not as good as others, as a success or failure. The content varies from person to person, but beneath the surface the same structures operate on identification and separation. The mind-made self comprising of thought and emotion is precarious because the components are fleeting and ephemeral. So if every ego has to struggle for survival and to uphold the I-thought, it needs the opposite thought of the “the other”. These others are mostly seen as my enemies. At one end of the scale of this unconscious egoic pattern lies the egoic compulsive habit of fault-finding and complaining about others. At the other end of the scale, there is physical violence between individuals and warfare between nations. When I criticize or condemn another, it makes me feel bigger, superior.
Complaining and ResentmentComplaining is one the ego’s favourite strategies for strengthening itself. When complaining is habitual it is also unconscious, which means you do not know what you are doing. Applying negative mental labels to others is part of the pattern, which ends up in name-calling as the crudest form: “jerk, bastard, bitch”. The next level down is shouting and screaming, and not much below that is physical violence. The emotion that goes with complaining is resentment, which adds more energy to the ego. Resentment means to feel bitter, indignant, aggrieved or offended. Your ego loves other people’s foibles, instead of overlooking them as unconsciousness, you make it into their identity. It is your own ego doing that. Nonreaction to the ego of others is one the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego. You are able to do that when you recognize his behaviour as an expression of the collective human dysfunction. When you realize it is not personal, there is no longer a compulsion to react. By not reacting to the ego, you will often bring out the sanity in others, which is the unconditioned consciousness as opposed to the conditioned. At times you may have to take practical steps to protect yourself from deeply unconscious people. This you can do without making them enemies. Your greatest protection, however, is being conscious. Somebody becomes an enemy if you personalize the unconsciousness that is the ego. Nonreaction is not weakness but strength. Another word for Non-reaction is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence. The ego loves to complain and feel resentful not only about other people but also about situations. You can make a situation into an enemy. And the ego’s greatest enemy of all is the present moment, which is life itself. The voice in the head is the voice of the ego, which is no more than a conditioned mind-pattern, a thought. Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not that voice, but the one who is aware of it. In fact you are the awareness that is aware of the voice. In the background, there is the awareness. In the foreground there is the voice, the thinker. In this way you are becoming free of the ego, free of the unobserved mind. The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old conditioned mind-pattern. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist. The old mind-pattern or mental habit may still survive and recover for a while because it has the momentum of thousands of years of collective human unconsciousness behind it, but every time it is recognized, it is weakened.
Reactivity and GrievancesResentment is often accompanied by a stronger emotion such as anger or some other form of upset, like grievance. Grievance constitutes a significant part of many people’s ego. Collective grievances can survive for centuries in the psyche of a nation. A grievance is a strong emotion connected to an event in the past that is being kept alive by compulsive thinking, by retelling the story in the head. One strong grievance is enough to contaminate large areas of your life and keep you in the grip of the ego. It requires honesty to see your own grievances. If you do, do not let go of it. Trying to let go, to forgive, does not work. Forgiveness happens naturally when you see that it has not purpose other than to strengthen a false sense of self, to keep the ego in place. The seeing is freeing. The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that. And what is a grievance? The baggage of old thought and emotion.
Truth: Relative or Absolute“I am right and you are wrong” is a dangerous way in which the ego strengthens itself. It is a mental dysfunction that perpetuates separation and conflict between human beings and nations. The history of Christianity is, of course, a prime example of how the belief that you are in sole possession of the truth can corrupt your actions and behaviour to the point of insanity. For centuries, torturing and burning people alive if their opinion diverged even in the slightest from Church doctrine or narrow interpretation of scripture (the “Truth”) was considered right because the victims were “wrong.” They were so wrong that they needed to be killed. The Truth was considered more important than human life. The truth is merely a bundle of thoughts! The million people that dictator Pol Pot of Cambodia ordered killed included everybody who wore glasses. These are the educated class, the bourgeoisie, the exploiters of the peasants. They needed to be eliminated to make room for a new social order. His truth also was a bundle of thoughts. Thoughts at best point to the truth, but it never is the truth. Buddhists say: “The finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.” You can use religion in the service of the ego or in the service of the truth. If you believe only your religion is the Truth, you are using it in the service of the ego. In the service of the Truth, religious teachings represent signposts or maps left behind by awakened humans to assist you in spiritual awakening, that is to say, in becoming free of identification with form. There is only one Truth, which is inseparable from who you are. You are the Truth. If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time. The very Being that you are is Truth, as Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” That is what the Christian mystics called the Christ within; Buddhists call it your Buddha nature, For Hindus, it is the Atman, the indwelling God. When you are in touch with that dimension within yourself, your natural state, all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all that you sense deep within. This is Love. “Love and do what you will,” said St. Augustine. Words cannot get much closer to the Truth than that. Recognize the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind. When you recognize it for what it is, you no longer misperceive it as somebody’s identity. Once you see the ego for what it is, it becomes much easier to remain non-reactive toward it. You do not take it personally anymore. There is no complaining, blaming, accusing, or making wrong. Nobody is wrong. It is the ego in someone, that’s all. Compassion arises when you recognize that all are suffering from the same sickness of the mind, some more acutely than others. You do not fuel the drama anymore that is part of all egoic relationships. What is fuel? Reactivity. The ego thrives on it.
Peace or Drama?Everyone wants peace, but some would like some drama (conflict) as well. A situation or a thought of someone accusing you, encroaching on your territory, an argument about money may trigger a reaction in you. Anger, fear and hostility may surge your voice to a harsh and shrill tone in your effort to defend your position or a counter attack. In this moment of unconsciousness, you would like to be right rather than peace.
Beyond Ego: Your True IdentityWhen the ego is at war, it is an illusion fighting, thinking that the illusion is you. But with the Presence power, the ego will lose its grip on you. This power is far greater than the ego, greater than the mind. So to become free of ego is to be aware of it, as awareness and ego are incompatible. Awareness is the power concealed within the present moment. That is why we may also call it Presence. The ultimate purpose of human existence is to bring that power into this world. Only Presence can free you of the ego, and you can be present Now, not yesterday or tomorrow. Only Presence can undo the past in you and thus transform your state of consciousness. Spiritual realization is to see clearly that I perceive, experience, think or feel is ultimately not who I am. That I cannot find myself in all those things that continuously pass away. That is why Buddha was the first human being to see clearly that is “no self” in our bodies. This is one of the central points of his teachings: the “Anatta” doctrine. What remains is the light of consciousness in which perceptions, experiences, thoughts, and feelings come and go. That is Being, that is the deeper, true I. When I know myself as that, whatever happens in my life is no longer of absolute but only of relative importance. The only thing that ultimately matters is this: can I sense my essential Beingness, the I am, in the background of my life at all times? Can I sense the I Am that I Am at this moment? Can I sense essential identity as consciousness itself? Or am I losing myself in what happens, losing myself in the mind, in the world?
All Structures are UnstableThe unconscious drive behind ego is to strengthen the image of who I think I am. Whatever behaviour the ego manifests, the hidden motivating force is always the same: the need to stand out, be special, and be in control; the need for power, for attention, for more. And of course the need to feel a sense of separation and the need for enemies. The ego always wants something from other people or situations. There is always a hidden agenda, always a sense of “not enough yet” of insufficiency and lack that needs to be filled. It uses people and situations to get what it wants. And even when it succeeds, it is never satisfied for long. For the most part the gap between “I want” and “what is” becomes a constant source of upset and anguish. The underlying emotion that governs all the activity of the ego is fear. The fear of being nobody, the fear of non-existence, the fear of death. All its activities are ultimately designed to eliminate this, but the most the ego can ever do is to cover up temporarily with an intimate relationship, a new possession, or winning at this or that. Illusion will never satisfy you. Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free. Why fear? Because the ego arises by identification with form, and deep down it knows that no forms are permanent, and they are all fleeting. So there is always a sense of insecurity around the ego even if on the outside it appears confident. Once you realize and accept that all structures (forms) are unstable, peace arises within you. The recognition of the impermanence of all forms awakens you to the dimension of the formless within yourself, that which is beyond death---- “eternal life.” (Jesus) The Ego’s need to Feel Superior: That moment before you give some news to the other person, you feel somewhat more superior because you know more. This includes gossiping. Associating with a person who is important in the eyes of others. “Name Dropping” is another form of gaining superior identity. The ego feels threatened when someone has more than I. So it may then criticise, or belittle the value of the other person’s possessions, knowledge or abilities. Or it may enhance itself by association with that person, if he or she is important in the eyes of others. The absurd overvaluation of fame is just one of the manifestations of egoic madness in our world. Albert Einstein was one of the most famous people on the planet said this of himself: “grotesque contradiction between what people consider to be my achievements and abilities and the reality of who I am and what I am capable of”. He was definitely egoless and humble.
Role-playing: The Many Faces of the EgoTo get one’s needs met, one must play a role. Its needs are: material gain, a sense of power, superiority, or some kind of gratification, be it physical or psychological. Some roles are subtle, whilst others are obvious: all are to get attention from others, which is psychic energy. Actually the source of energy is within you, but it seeks from outside the energy in some form, like recognition, praise, admiration, or just to be noticed in some way, to have its existence acknowledged. A shy person has an ambivalent ego that both wants and fears attention from others. The fear is that the attention may take the form of disapproval or criticism. Shyness often goes with a self-concept that is predominantly negative, the belief of being inadequate. Any conceptual sense of self is ego, whether good or bad. Behind every positive self-concept is the hidden fear of not being good enough. Behind every negative self-concept is the hidden desire of being the greatest or better than others. Many people fluctuate between feelings of inferiority and superiority. Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone that is the ego in you.
Villain, Victim, LoverIn order to obtain attention, the person will even perpetrate crimes to get attention. This will seek attention through notoriety and condemnation. This will draw sympathy or pity and my problems. Now I am a victim and I do not want to end my problems as that is my identity. I can tell the sad story in my own head and feel sorry for myself. My identity is now a “victim,” who has been treated unfairly by other people, fate, or God. This definition of my self-image has made me into someone, which is all that matters to the ego. The role playing of the lover is to attract someone who is going to ‘make me happy, make me feel special and fulfil my needs. These unconscious lovers perform these roles: “I’ll play who you want me to be, and you’ll play who I want you to be.” These roles cannot be sustained indefinitely and when these roles slip, the raw egos turn to anger towards each other, the spouse or partner. “Falling in love” is in most cases an intensification of egoic wanting and needing. This addiction to another person has nothing to do with true love, which contains no wanting whatsoever. In Spanish, “Te quiero” means “I want you” as well as “I love you.”
Pre-established RolesWhat matters is not what function you fulfil in this world, but whether you identify with your function to such an extent that it takes you over and becomes a role that you play. When you play roles, you are unconscious. When you catch yourself playing a role, that recognition creates a space between you and the role. It is the beginning of freedom from the role. When you are completely identified with a role, you confuse a pattern of behaviour with who you are, and you take yourself seriously. There are still many pre-established roles that people readily identify with and which thus become part of the ego. Human reactions coming out from here are inauthentic, dehumanised and alienating. They may give a comforting sense of identity, but ultimately you lose yourself in them. The functions people have in hierarchical organizations, such as the military, a government institution, or large corporation, easily lend themselves to becoming role identities. Authentic human interactions become impossible when you lose yourself in a role. Some pre-established roles are: middle class housewife; the tough macho male; the female seductress; a person of culture, and finally the universal role of an adult. In playing of roles, you take yourself too seriously and there is no spontaneity, light-heartedness and joy. Then came the hippie movement in the West Coast of USA. The hippies rejected all social archetypes, of roles, of pre-established patterns of behaviour as well as egoically based social and economic structures. They refuse to play the roles their parents and society imposed upon them. The hippie movement represented a loosening of the hitherto rigid egoic structures in the psyche of humanity. This made it possible for ancient Eastern wisdom and spirituality to move west and play an essential part in the awakening of global consciousness.
Temporary RolesThese are roles that you play when you are communicating with another person. The images that you have of yourself when talking to the chairman or the janitor of a company: this applies to the images that you have of these people when you are talking to them. How you speak to a child is quite different with how you speak to an adult. All these are roles that you play. The more identified people are with their roles, the more inauthentic the relationships become. You are not relating with that person at all, but who you think you are is relating to who you think the other person is and vice versa. The other person is probably doing the same thing. That means there is no true relationship.
Happiness as a Role Vs True Happiness“How are you?” “Just great. Could not be better.” True or false? Happiness is sometimes people play. Behind the smiling façade, there is a great deal of pain, depression and nervous breakdowns. Face the situation. The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Separate your thoughts from the situation, which is always neutral. Stay with the facts. See the link between your thinking and your emotions. Then be aware of your thoughts and emotions. Do not seek happiness. You will not find it. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now by facing what is. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well-being and inner peace, the source of true happiness.
Parenthood: Role or Function?In this role of a parent, it is extremely easy to over do it. Can one fulfil the function of a parent without it being a role? Does one become controlling and overbearing. The function of a parent is merely to looking after the needs of the child, preventing the child from getting into danger, and at times telling the child what to do and what not to do. When your sense of self is entirely identified with the function of a parent, the function can easily become overemphasised, exaggerated and takes you over. Giving children what they need becomes excessive and turns into spoiling: preventing them from getting into danger becomes overprotective and interferes with their need to explore the world and try things out for themselves. Furthermore, parents continue their roles long after the children have grown up into adults. When the child is forty years old, treating him as a child of four is too ridiculous. You may be doing all the right things for your child, but it is not enough if you neglect Being. The ego knows nothing of Being. The entire civilization is losing itself in doing that is not rooted in Being and thus become futile. The key is to give your child attention, which is two kinds: form-based and formless. Form-based is always connected with doing or evaluating. Eat your dinner. Tidy up your room. etc. etc. The most vital dimension is missing. Being is completely obscured by doing. However, formless attention is inseparable from the dimension of Being. As you look at, listen to, touch, or help your child with this or that, you are alert, still, completely present, not wanting anything other than the moment as it is. In this way, you make room for Being. In that moment, if you are present, you are not father or mother. You are the alertness, the stillness, the Presence that is listening, looking, touching, even speaking. You are the Being behind the doing. Human alone is not enough, no matter how hard you try. Then there is Being, which is found in the still, alert presence of Consciousness itself, the consciousness that you are. Human is form. Being is formless. Human and Being are not separate but interwoven. In the human dimension, you are superior to your child, and you make your child feel inferior. There is only form in your relationship. Your love for the child is only human, which is conditioned, possessive and intermittent. Only beyond form, in Being, are you equal, and only when you find the formless dimension in yourself can there be true love in that relationship. The Presence that you are, the timeless I Am, recognizes itself in another, and the other, the child in this case, feels loved, that is to say, recognized. It has been said: “God is love”, but this is not absolutely correct. God is the One life in and beyond the countless forms of life. Love implies duality: lover and beloved, subject and object. So love is the recognition of oneness in the world of duality. This is the birth of God into the world of form. Love makes the world less worldly, less dense, more transparent to the divine dimension, the light of consciousness itself.
Give up Role-PlayingThe lesson we are here to learn is not to identify it as a role in whatever you are doing. You are the most powerful when the action is performed for its own sake rather as a means to protect, enhance, or conform to your role identity. Every role is a fictitious sense of self, and through it everything becomes personalised and thus corrupted and distorted by the mind-made “little me” and whatever role it happens to be playing. Some of them function from the deeper core of their Being, those who do not appear more than they are but are simply themselves, stand out as remarkable and are the only ones who truly make a difference in this world. They are the bringers of the new consciousness. Whatever they do becomes empowered because it is in alignment with the purpose of the whole. Their influence goes far beyond what they do, far beyond their function. Their mere presence---simple, natural, and unassuming------has a transformational effect on whoever they become into contact with. If you do not play roles, it means there is no self (ego) in what you do. As a result your actions have far greater power. You are totally focused on the situation. You become one with it. You are most powerful, most effective, when you are completely yourself. But do not try to be yourself. That is another role. ” Beneath your physical and psychological form, you are one with Life itself, one with Being. In form, you are and will always be inferior to some, superior to others. In essence, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. In the eyes of the ego, self-esteem and humility are contradictory. In truth, they one and the same.
The Pathological EgoIn the wider sense of the word, the ego is pathological. The ancient Greek root of the word pathological is derived from pathos, which means suffering. This is exactly what Buddha said: Life is characterised by suffering (dukkha). When an ego is suffering, it is blind to its suffering that it inflicts on itself and others. Unhappiness is an ego-created mental-emotional disease that has reached epidemic proportions. Negative states such as anger and resentment envy etc are not taken as negative, but as totally justified and are further misperceived not as self-created but as caused by someone else. “I am holding responsible for my pain.” The ego cannot distinguish between a situation and its interpretation of and reaction to that situation. When one says “What a dreadful day,” it is one's reaction and resistance to the wind and rain, and the rain and wind are just as they are. In Shakespeare's words, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. Suffering or negativity is often misperceived by the ego as pleasure because up to a `point the ego strengthens itself through it. But negative states affect the functioning of the heart, digestive and immune systems, and countless other bodily functions that it is obvious that these are definitely pathological (suffering) and not pleasure. So, whenever there is a negativity in you, if you can be aware at that moment that there is something in you that takes pleasure in it or believes it has a useful purpose, you are becoming aware of the ego directly. The moment this happens, your identity has shifted from ego to awareness. This means the ego is shrinking and awareness is growing. Having realized: “At this moment I am creating suffering for myself”, it will be enough to raise one above the limitations of conditioned egoic states and reactions. It will open up infinite possibilities which come to you when there is awareness----other vastly more intelligent ways of dealing with any situation. You will be free to let go of your unhappiness the moment you recognize it as unintelligent. Negativity is not intelligent. It is always of the ego. The ego may be clever, but it is not intelligent. Cleverness pursues its own little aims. Intelligence sees the larger whole in which all things are connected. Cleverness is motivated by self-interest, and it is extremely short-sighted. Whatever is attained through cleverness is short-lived and always turns out to be eventually self-defeating. Cleverness divides; intelligence includes.
The Secret of HappinessHow to be at peace now? By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else. Once you made peace with the present moment, you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. The secret of all success and happiness is: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don't live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance. The ego loves its resentment of reality. Reality is whatever it is: Buddha calls it tatata--- the suchness of life, the suchness of this moment. Opposition toward that suchness is one of the main features of the ego. It creates the negativity that the ego thrives on, the unhappiness that it loves. In this way, you make yourself and others suffer and do not even know that you are doing it, do not know that you are creating hell on earth. This is the essence of unconscious living, totally in the grip of the ego. It is doing exactly what it condemns others of doing and not see it. When confronted, anger, denial and arguments are used to justify itself. Even violence may be used. To remedy the situation: “Is there negativity in me at this moment?” Then become alert, attentive to your thoughts as well as your emotions. Watch out for the low-level unhappiness in whatever form there is: discontent, nervousness etc. The moment you become aware of a negative state within yourself, it does mean you have failed. It means that you have succeeded. Until awareness happens, there is identification with inner states, and such identification is ego. With awareness comes dis-identification from thoughts, emotions and reactions. This is not to be confused with denial. The thoughts, emotions, or reactions are recognized, and in the moment of recognizing, dis-identification happens automatically. Your sense of self, of who you are, then undergoes a shift: Before you were the thoughts, emotions, and reactions; now you are the awareness, the conscious Presence that witnesses those states. Beware of your thoughts and emotions as they happen. It is an alert “seeing”. When a shift from thinking to awareness happens, an intelligence far greater than the ego's cleverness begins to operate in your life. Emotions and even thoughts become de-personalized through awareness. Their impersonal nature is recognized. There is no longer a self in them. They are just human emotion, human thoughts. Your entire personal history, which is ultimately no more than a story, a bundle of thoughts and emotions, becomes of secondary importance and no longer occupies the forefront of your consciousness. It no longer forms the basis for your sense of identity. You are the light of Presence, the awareness that is prior to and deeper than any thoughts and emotions.
Work without EgoThose who are exceptionally good at their work and their work has become a spiritual practice will be largely free of ego while they are working. For these people their state of Presence is for the time being confined to one area of their life. These are scientists, surgeons etc. They perform their work admirably without any self-seeking, fully responding to whatever the moment require of them. They are extremely successful at what they do. They are building a new earth. The opposite is true. Although technically they are very good, their own egos sabotage them. Only part of their attention is on the work they perform; the other part is on themselves. Their ego demands personal recognition and wastes energy if it does not get enough. “Is someone else getting more recognition than me?” Or their main focus of attention is profit or power and their work is no more than a means to an end.
The Pain-BodyAny negative emotion that is not fully faced and seen for what it is in the moment it arises does not completely dissolve. It leaves behind a remnant of pain. Children in particular find strong negative emotions too overwhelming to cope with and tend to try not to feel them. Not having a compassionate adult to help them, choosing not to feel them is the only option. Unfortunately, this defence mechanism remains in the child until he becomes an adult. This emotion lives in him and manifests as anger, anxiety or a mood or even as an illness. In most cases it interferes with every intimate relationship. Nobody can go through childhood in a largely unconscious world without suffering emotional pain. This remnant of pain will have future painful emotions added on to it as the person grows older, created by the voice of the ego. This pain is one's unavoidable companion when a false sense of self is the basis of one's life. This energy field of old but still very-much-alive emotion that lives in almost every human being is the pain-body. The pain-body is not just individual in nature. It also partakes of the pain suffered by countless humans through the history of humanity, which is a history of continuous tribal warfare, of enslavement, pillage, rape, torture, and other forms of violence. This pain still lives in the collective psyche of humanity and is being added to on a daily basis. The collected pain-body is probably encoded within every human DNA. Every newborn who comes into this world already carries an emotional pain-body. In some it is heavier, more dense than in others. Some babies are quite happy most of the time. Others seem to carry an enormous amount of unhappiness within them. It is true that some babies cry a great deal because they are not given enough love and attention, but others cry for no apparent reason, almost as if they trying to make everyone around them as unhappy as they are---- and often they succeed. They have come into this world with a heavy share of human pain. Other babies may cry frequently because they can sense the emanation of their mother's and father's negative emotion, and it causes them pain and also causes their pain-body to grow already by absorbing energy from the parents' pain-bodies. Whatever the case may be, as the baby's physical body grows, so does the pain-body.
How the Pain-body Renews ItselfThe pain-body is a semi-autonomous energy-form that lives within most human beings, an energy made up of emotion. It has its own primitive intelligence, and its intelligence is directed primarily at survival. Like all life-forms, it periodically needs to feed and the food it requires to replenish itself consists of energy that is compatible with its own, which is energy that vibrates at a similar frequency. Any emotionally painful experience can be used as food by the pain-body. That is why it thrives on negative thinking as well as drama in relationship. The pain-body is an addition to unhappiness. In most people, the pain-body has a dormant and an active stage. When it is dormant, you easily forget that you carry a heavy dark cloud, depending on the energy field of your particular pain-body. How long it remains dormant varies from person to person: A few weeks is the most common, but it can be a few days or months. In rare cases the pain-body can lie in hibernation for years before it gets triggered by some event.
How the Pain-body feeds on Your ThoughtsThe pain-body awakens from its dormancy when it gets hungry. Or it may be triggered by an event: the most insignificant one or something somebody says or does. Or if you are alone, the pain-body can feed on your thoughts. The thought must be negative because only those thoughts are compatible with the pain-body's energy field. To the pain-body, pain is pleasure. As you are the pain-body at that time, you do not want to stop thinking negative thoughts. The voice in your head is the voice of the pain-body. It feeds on each other. After a few days, it has replenished itself and it returns to its dormant stage, leaving behind a deplete organism and a body that is much more susceptible to illness. You are now a psychic parasite.
How the Pain-body feeds on DramaPain-bodies love intimate relationships and families because that is where they get most of their food. It is hard to resist another person's pain-body that is determined to draw you into a reaction. Instinctively it knows your weakest, most vulnerable points. If it does not succeed the first time, it will try again and again. It is raw emotion looking for more emotion. The other person's pain-body wants to awaken yours so that both pain-bodies can mutually energise each other. May relationships go through violent and destructive pain-body episodes at regular intervals. It is almost unbearably painful for a young child to have to witness the emotional violence of their parents' pain-bodies, and yet that is the fate of millions of children all over the world, the nightmare of daily existence. That is also one of the main ways in which the pain-body is passed on from generation to generation. After each episode, the partners make up, and there is an interval of relative peace to the limited extent that the ego allows it. Alcohol will often activate the pain-body in men. They beat up the children when drunk, but when they are sober they are repentant and they promise not to do it again. But the drunkard is not the same man. His pain-body has taken over. He will commit the same violence all over again. Sometimes after committing oneself to the other and after the honeymoon or agreement to live together, one suddenly realizes that he or she has married a monster! When she speaks, it is no more your partner, but her pain-body, completely distorted by fear, hostility, anger, and a desire to inflict more pain. Some people carry dense pain-bodies that are never dormant, always hungry and always ready for a confrontation. Its ego is always ready for enemies. Small insignificant matters are blown up out of all proportion as they try to pull other people into their drama. Some get involved in protracted and ultimately pointless battles or court cases with organizations or individuals. Due to a complete lack of self-awareness, they cannot tell the difference between an event and their reaction to the event. They do not know their own unhappiness and suffering.
Breaking FreeIn order to be free, one must realize that one has a pain-body. More importantly, be alert enough to stay present enough to notice the pain-body in yourself, especially as a heavy influx of negative emotion when it becomes active. When you recognize your pain-body, it no longer can pretend to be you and live and renew itself through you. It is your conscious Presence that breaks the identification with the pain-body. When you do not identify with it, the pain-body can no longer control your thinking and so cannot renew itself any more by feeding on your thoughts. Once you have severed the link between it and your thinking, the pain-body begins to lose energy. Your thinking ceases to be clouded by emotion; your present perceptions are no longer distorted by the past. Your energy changes in frequency and is transmuted into Presence. The pain-body becomes fuel for consciousness. We can usually sense other people's mental-emotional state, even if it is subliminally. When we first meet, we should be aware of the other person's state before words are exchanged. When words take over the relationship, we take over the roles that we play and that will diminish our ability to sense the other person's energy field. When two drivers with active pain-bodies arrive at an intersection at the same time, the likelihood of an accident is many times greater than under normal circumstances. They both want the accident to happen. Many acts of violence are committed by “maniacs” temporarily converted by their pain-bodies. “This is totally out of character” and “I do not know what came over me.” are common exclamations, but actually they did not commit the acts, their pain-bodies did.
UnhappinessNot all unhappiness is of the pain-body. Some of it is new unhappiness, created whenever you are of alignment with the present moment, when the Now is denied in one way or another. The pain-body's unhappiness is always clearly out of proportion to the apparent cause. It is an overreaction. Someone with a heavy pain-body easily finds reasons for being upset, angry, hurt, sad, or fearful. Relatively insignificant things become the apparent cause of intense unhappiness. They are not the true cause but only act as a trigger. They bring back to life the old accumulated emotion. The emotion then moves into the head and amplifies and energizes the egoic mind structures. Pain-bodies and ego are close relatives. They need each other. The triggering event or situation is then interpreted and reacted to through the screen of a heavily emotional ego. Its significance becomes completely distorted. You look at the present through the eyes of the emotional past within you. In other words, what you see and experience is not in the event but in you. Or in some cases, it may be there in the event or situation, but you amplify it through your reaction. This reaction, this amplification, is what the pain-body wants and needs, what it feeds on. For someone possessed by a heavy pain-body, it is often impossible to step outside his or her distorted interpretation, the heavily emotional “story,” which is taken as reality. When you are trapped in the movement of thought and emotion, stepping outside is not possible, because you do not know there is an outside. To you there is no other reality. Your reaction is the only reaction.
Breaking Identification with the Pain-bodyA person with a strong, active pain-body has an extremely unpleasant energy emanation. He is shunned and avoided. People tend to react as little as possible with him. Others even tend to be aggressive to him. It requires a high degree of Presence to avoid reacting when confronted by someone with such an active pain-body. If you are able to stay present, it sometimes happens that your Presence enables the other person to dis-identify from his or her own pain-body and experience the miracle of a sudden awakening. The awakening may be short-lived, but the awakening process will have become initiated. In Zen, Satori is a moment of Presence, a brief stepping out of the voice in your head, the thought processes, and the reflection in the body as emotion. The thinking mind cannot understand Presence. In the stillness of Presence, you can sense the formless essence in yourself and in the other as one. Knowing the oneness of yourself and the other is true love, true care, true compassion. Certain triggers or situations will provoke a pain-body: these are emotional pain suffered in the past e.g. As a child there is no money in the household; a child is neglected when young, a woman was abused by her father when she was a child; a man was unwanted as a child, etc Every time you are present when the pain-body arises, some of the pain-body's negative emotional energy will burn up, and transmuted into Presence. The rest of the pain-body will quickly withdraw and wait for a better opportunity to arise again, when you are less conscious, e.g. When you are drunk or when you have just seen a violent film. The pain-body needs your unconsciousness. It cannot tolerate the light of Presence.
The Pain-Body as an AwakenerThe pain-body could occupy your entire mind and disrupts your relationships and your unhappiness will get worse and worse. Until the person wants to get out of it. The acute emotional pain forces them to dis-identify from the contents of their minds and the mental-emotional structures that give birth to and perpetuate the unhappy me. They then know that neither their unhappy story nor the emotion they feel is who they are. They realize that they are the knowing, not the known. Rather than pulling them into unconsciousness, the pain-body becomes their awakener, the decisive factor that forces them into a state of Presence.
Breaking Free of the Pain-Body“How long does it take to become free of identification with the Pain-body?” Answer is: It takes no time at all. When the pain-body is activated know that what you are feeling is the pain-body in you. This knowing is all that is needed to break your identification with it. And when identification with it ceases, the transmutation begins. The knowing prevents the old the old emotion from arising up into your head and taking over not only the internal dialogue, but also your action as well as interactions with other people. That means the pain-body cannot use you any more and renew itself through you. The old emotion may then still live in you for a while and come up periodically. Not projecting the old emotion and situations means facing it directly within yourself. It may not be pleasant, but it kills you. Your Presence is more than capable of containing it. The emotion is not who you are. The knowing needs to be followed by accepting. Anything else will obscure it again. Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the is-ness of the Now. You cannot argue with what is. Through allowing, you become what you are: vast, spacious. You become whole. You are not a fragment any more, which is how the ego perceives itself. Your true nature emerges, which is one with the nature of God.
Finding Who You Truly AreKnow Thyself--------Gnothi Seauton. These are the words at the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi, site of the sacred Oracle. This also means “Who am I?” Unconscious people ( some throughout their entire lives) will quickly reply : their name, their occupation, their personal history, the shape or state of their body. Others will say that they are immortal souls or divine spirits. But knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind. If small things upset you, then you are exactly that: small. Ultimately all things are small because all things are transient. And you say “I am tired of this mad world, and peace is all I want.” If peace is all you want, you would remain non-reactive and absolutely alert when confronted with challenging people or situations. You would immediately accept the situation and thus become one with it rather than separate yourself from it. Who you are (consciousness), not who you think you are (a small me), would be responding. It would be powerful and effective and would make no person or situation into an enemy. What is my relationship with the Now or Life? How do you go beyond a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment? See it in your thoughts and actions. The moment you see that the relationship with the Now is dysfunctional, you are present. The seeing is the arising Presence. The dysfunction begins to dissolve. With the seeing comes the power of choice---- the choice of saying yes to Now, of making it into your friend.
Eliminating TimeTime is the horizontal dimension of life, the surface layer of reality. Then there is the vertical dimension of depth, accessible to you only through the portal of the present moment. So instead of adding time to yourself, remove time. The elimination of time from your consciousness is the elimination of the ego. It is the only true practice. This practice entails the elimination of psychological time, which is the endless preoccupation with the past and future and its unwillingness to be one with life by living in alignment with the inevitable isness of the present moment. Whenever a habitual no to life turns into a yes, whenever you allow this moment to be as it is, you dissolve time as well as ego. For the ego to survive it must make time-----past and future------more important than the present moment. The ego cannot tolerate becoming friendly with the present, except briefly just after it got what it wanted. But nothing can satisfy the ego for long. As long as it runes your life, there are two ways of being unhappy. Not getting what you want is one. Getting what you want is the other.v Whatever is or happens is the form that the Now takes. As long as you resist it internally, form or the world is an impenetrable barrier that separates you from who you are beyond form, separates you from the formless one Life that you are. When you bring an inner yes to the form the Now takes, that very form becomes a doorway into the formless. The separation between the world and God dissolves. When you react against form that Life takes at this moment, when you treat the Now as a means, an obstacle, or an enemy, you strengthen your own form identity, the ego. Hence the ego's reactivity, which is becoming addicted to reaction. The more reactive you are, the more entangled you become with form. The more identified with form, the stronger the ego. Your Being then does not shine through form any more. Through non-resistance to form, that in you which is beyond form emerges as an all-encompassing Presence, a silent power far greater than your short-lived form identity, the person. It is more deeply who you are than anything in the world.
The Dreamer and the DreamNon-resistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe. Through it, consciousness (spirit) is freed from its imprisonment in form. Inner non-resistance to form is a denial of the absolute reality of form. Resistance makes the world and the things of the world appear more real, more solid, and more lasting than they are, including your own identity, the ego. It endows the world and the ego with a heaviness and absolute importance that makes you take yourself and world very seriously. The play of form is then misperceived as a struggle for survival, and when that is your perception, it becomes your reality. The many forms and many things that happen are all ephemeral in nature. They were just dreams. There is the dream and there is the dreamer, which is the absolute reality in which forms come and go. The dreamer is not the person. The person is part of the dream. The dreamer is the substratum in which the dream appears, that which makes the dream possible. It is the absolute behind the relative, the timeless behind time, the consciousness in and behind form. The dreamer is consciousness itself ----- who you are. To waken within the dream is our purpose now. When we are awake within the dream, the ego-created earth-drama comes to an end and a more benign and wondrous dream arises. This is the new earth.
Going Beyond LimitationThere must be limitation in everybody's life when one is acquiring new skills, or overcoming physical weaknesses or financial scarcity. When one is present in any of these activities, and one is fully in the Now, the Presence will flow into and transform what you do. There will be quality and power in it. You are present when what you are doing is not primarily a means to an end but fulfilling in itself, there is joy and aliveness in what you do. And you cannot be present unless you become friendly with the present moment. That is the basis for effective action, uncontaminated by negativity. Form means limitation. We are here not only to experience limitation, but also to grow in consciousness by going beyond limitation. Some limitation can be overcome on an external level. There may be other limitations in your life that you have to learn to live with. They can only be overcome internally. Everyone will encounter them sooner or later. Those limitations either keep you trapped in the egoic reaction, which means intense unhappiness, or you rise above them internally by uncompromising surrender to what is. That is what they are here to teach. The surrendered state of consciousness opens up the vertical dimension in your life, the dimension of depth. Something will then come forth from that dimension into this world, something of infinite value that otherwise would have remained un-manifested. Some people who surrendered to severe limitation become healers or spiritual teachers. Others work selflessly to lessen human suffering or bring some creative gift into this world. One good example is Stephen Hawking who is a victim of motor neuron disease paralysed on a wheelchair and he is a professor of mathematics said: “Who could have asked for more,” when asked his life.
The Joy of BeingUnhappiness of negativity is a disease on our planet. What pollution is on the outer level is negativity on the inner. It is everywhere, not just in places where people don't have enough, but even more so where they have more than enough. The affluent world is even more deeply identified with form, more lost in content, more trapped in ego. They believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness i.e. Dependent on form, which is the most unstable thing in the universe. They miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, beyond form. Accept the present moment and find the perfection that is deeper than any form and untouched by time. The joy of Being, which is the only true happiness, cannot come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person or event-----through anything that happens. The joy cannot come to you---ever. It emanates from the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and thus is one with who you are.
Allow the Ego to ShrinkThe ego is always trying to repair its diminishment, but the real and powerful spiritual practice is to allow the ego to get smaller intentionally. When someone criticises you, blames you or call you names, instead of defending yourself ---- do nothing. Through becoming less, you became more, because you have stepped out of identification with form. You have made room for Being to come forward. True power can then shine through the apparently weakened form.
As Without, So withinIf you are in awe experiencing space, especially in a clear night, you must have become still enough inside to notice the vastness in which those countless worlds exist. The feeling of awe is not from the fact that there are billions of worlds out there, but the depth that contains them all. Although cannot see, touch, taste, or smell space, you have an affinity with space. That is why you can be aware of space. You are not really aware of anything, except awareness itself--- the inner space of consciousness. Through you, the universe is becoming aware of itself. When the eye finds nothing to see, the no-thingness is perceived as space. When the ear finds nothing to hear, that no-thingness is perceived as stillness. When the senses, which are designed to perceive form, meet an absence of form, the formless consciousness that lies behind perception and makes all perception, all experience, possible, is no longer obscured by form. When you contemplate the unfathomable depth of space or listen to the silence in the early hours just before sunrise, something within you resonates with it as if in recognition. You then sense the vast depth of space as your own depth, and you know that precious stillness that has no form to be more deeply who are than any of the things that make up the content of your life. God is formless consciousness and the essence of who you are. Everything else is form, and is “what people here adore.” The twofold reality of the universe, which consists of things and space----things and no-things---- is also your own. A sane, balanced, and fruitful human life is a dance between the two dimension of form, with sense perceptions, thoughts, and emotion, that the vital hidden half is missing from their lives. Their identification with form keeps them trapped in ego. What you see, feel, hear, touch. Or think about is only one half of reality. It is form. Jesus called it “the world,” and the other dimension is “the kingdom of heaven or eternal life.” Just as space enables all things to exist and just as without silence there could be no sound, you would not exist without the vital formless dimension that is the essence of who you are. Being is a better word than God, as the latter is very much abused. Being is prior to existence. Existence is form, content, “what happens”. Existence is the foreground of life; Being is the background. The collective disease of humanity is that people are so engrossed in what happens, so hypnotized by the world of fluctuating forms, so absorbed in the content of their lives, they have forgotten the essence, that which is beyond content, beyond form, beyond thought. They are so consumed by time that they have forgotten eternity, which is their origin, their home, their destiny. Eternity is the living reality of who you are.
The Discovery of Inner Space
Who is the Experiencer?Every experience has three ingredients: sense perceptions, thoughts and mental images, and emotion. Who is the experiencer? You are. And who are you? Consciousness. And what is consciousness? This question cannot be answered. The moment you answer it, you have falsified it, made it into another object. Consciousness, the traditional word for which is spirit, cannot be known in the normal sense of the word, and seeking it is futile. All knowing is within the realm of duality---subject and object, the knower and the known. The subject, the I, the knower without which nothing could be known, perceived, thought, or felt, must remain forever unknowable. This is because the I has no form. Only forms can be known, and yet without the formless dimension, the world of form could not be. It is the luminous space in which the world arises and subsides. That space is the life that I Am. It is timeless, eternal. What happens in that space is relative and temporary: pleasure and pain, gain and loss, birth and death. The greatest impediment to the discovery of inner space, the greatest impediment to finding the experiencer, is to become so enthralled by the experience that you lose yourself in it. It means consciousness is lost in its own dream. You get taken in by every thought, every emotion, and every experience to such a degree that you in fact in a dreamlike state. This has been the normal state of humanity for thousands of years. Although you cannot know consciousness, you can become conscious of it yourself. You can sense it directly in any situation, no matter you are. You can sense it here and now as your very Presence, the inner space in which words an this page are perceived and become thoughts. It is the underlying I Am. The words you are reading and thinking are the foreground, and the I Am is the substratum, the underlying background to every experience, thought, feeling.
The BreathBe aware of your breathing as often as you are able, whenever you remember. Do that for one year, and it will be more powerfully transformative than attending all sorts of spiritual courses. And it is free. Being ware of your breathing takes attention away from thinking and creates space. It is one way of generating consciousness. Although the fullness of consciousness is already there as the unmanifested we are here to bring consciousness into this dimension. Be aware of your breathing. Notice the sensation of the breath. Feel the air moving in and out of your body. Notice how the chest and abdomen expand and contract slightly with the in- and out-breath. One conscious breath is enough to make space where before there was the uninterrupted succession of thought after another. One conscious breath (two or three would be even better), taken many times a day. Is an excellent way of bringing space into your life. Even if you meditated on your breathing for two hours or more, one breath is all you ever need to be aware of, indeed ever can be aware of. The rest is memory or anticipation, which is thought. Because breath has no form as such, it has since ancient times been equated with spirit---the formless one Life. The fact that breath has no form is one of the reasons why breath awareness is an extremely effective way of bringing space into your life, of generating consciousness. It is an excellent meditation object precisely because it is not an object, has no shape or form. The other reason is that breath is one the most subtle and seemingly insignificant phenomena, the “least thing” that according to Nietzsche makes up the “best happiness.” Being aware of your breath forces you into the present moment---key to all inner transformation. Whenever you are conscious of the breath, you are absolutely present. You cannot think and be aware of your breathing at the same time. Conscious breathing stops your mind. But far from being in a trance or half asleep, you are fully awake and highly alert. You are not below thinking, but rising above it. You will find that those two things----coming fully into the present moment and ceasing thinking without loss of consciousness---- are actually one and the same: the arising of space consciousness.
StillnessStillness is the language God speaks, and everything else is a bad translation. Stillness is really another word for space. Becoming conscious of stillness whenever we encounter it in our lives will connect us with the formless and timeless dimension within ourselves, that which is beyond thought, beyond ego. It may be the stillness that pervades the world of nature, or the stillness in your room in the early hours of the morning, or the silent gaps in between sounds. Stillness has no form---- that is why through thinking we cannot become aware of it. Thought is form. Being aware of stillness means to be still. To be still is to be conscious without thought. You are never more essentially, more deeply, yourself than when you are still. When you are still, you are who you were before you temporarily assumed this physical and mental form called a person. You are also who you will be when the form dissolves. When you are still, you are who you are beyond your temporal existence: consciousness--- unconditioned, formless, eternal.
Your Inner PurposeYour inner purpose is to awaken--- it is the purpose of humanity. Awakening is a shift in consciousness in which thinking and awareness separate. For most people it is not an event but a process they undergo. Even those rare beings who experience a sudden, dramatic, and seemingly irreversible awakening will still go through a process in which the new state of consciousness gradually flows into and transforms everything they do and so becomes integrated into their lives.v Instead of being lost in your thinking, when you are awake you recognize yourself as the awareness behind it. Thinking then ceases to be a self-serving autonomous activity that takes possession of you and runs your life. Awareness takes over from thinking. Instead of being in charge of your life, thinking becomes the servant of awareness. Awareness is conscious connection with universal intelligence. Another word for it is Presence: consciousness without thought. The initiation of the awakening process is an act of grace. You cannot make it happen nor can you prepare yourself for it or accumulate credits toward it. You do not have to become worthy first. It may come to the sinner before it comes to the saint, but not necessarily. There is nothing you can do about awakening. Whatever you do will be the ego trying to add awakening or enlightenment to itself as its most prized possession and thereby making itself more important and bigger. Instead of awakening, you add the concept of awakening to your mind, or the mental image of what an awakened or enlightened person is like, and then try to live up to that image. Living to an image that you have of yourself or other people have of you is inauthentic living--- another unconscious role the ego plays. So if there is nothing you can do about awakening, if it has either already happened or not happened, how can it be the primary purpose of your life? Does not purpose imply that you can do something about it? Only the first awakening, the first glimpse of consciousness without thought, happens by grace, without any doing on your part. If you understand the story related in these pages, the process of awakening has already begun in you. You are able to become aware of thoughts, which you have been identifying all your life. Now there is an awareness that is aware of thought but is not part of it. What is the relationship between awareness and thinking? Awareness is the space in which thoughts exist when that space has become conscious of itself. Once you have had a glimpse of awareness or Presence, you know it first hand. It is no longer just a concept in your mind. You can then make a conscious choice to be present rather than to indulge in useless thinking. You can either invite Presence into your life, i.e. make space. With the grace of awakening comes responsibility. You can either try to go on as if nothing has happened, or you can see its significance and recognize the arising of awareness as the most important thing that can happen to you. Opening yourself to the emerging consciousness and bringing its light into the world then becomes the primary purpose of your life. The mind of God is consciousness and that means to be aware of your outer purpose and what happens outwardly. So the most significant thing is the separation process of thinking and awareness. At this early stage, what drives the world no longer drives them. Seeing the madness of our civilization so clearly, they may feel somewhat alienated from the culture around them. They are no longer run be the ego, yet the arising awareness has not yet become fully integrated into their lives. Inner and outer purpose have not yet merged. Your secondary or outer purpose lies within the dimension of time, while your main purpose is inseparable from the Now and therefore requires the negation of time. How are they reconciled? By realizing that your entire life journey ultimately consists of the step you are taking at this moment. There is always only this one step, and so you give it your fullest attention. This does not mean you do not know where you are going; it just means this step ie primary, the destination secondary. And what you encounter at your destination once you get there depends on the quality of this one step. Another way of putting it: What the future holds for you depends on your state of consciousness now. When doing becomes infused with the timeless quality of Being, that is success. Unless Being flows into doing, unless you are present, you lose yourself in whatever you do. You also lose yourself in thinking, as well as in your reactions to what happens externally. When consciousness (you) becomes identified with thinking and thus forgets its essential nature, it loses itself in thought. When it becomes identified with mental-emotional formations such as wanting and fearing-----the primary motivating forces of the ego--- it loses itself in those formations. Consciousness also loses itself when it identifies with acting and reacting to what happens. Every thought, every desire or fear every action or reaction, is then infused with a false sense of fear that is incapable of sensing the simple joy of Being and so seeks pleasure, and sometimes even pain, as substitutes for it. This is living in forgetfulness of Being. In that state of forgetfulness of who you are, every success is no more than a passing delusion. Whatever you achieve, soon you will unhappy again, or some new problem or dilemma will draw your attention in completely. Being at one with what is does not mean you no longer initiate change or become incapable of taking action. But the motivation to take action comes from a deeper level, not from egoic wanting or fearing. Inner alignment with the present moment opens your consciousness and brings it into alignment with the whole, of which the present moment is an integral part. The whole, the totality of life, then acts through you. The whole comprises all that exists. It is the world or the cosmos. But all things in existence, from microbes to human beings to galaxies, are not really separate things or entities, but form part of a web of interconnected multidimensional processes. There are two reasons why we don't see this unity, why we see things as separate. One is perception, which reduces reality to what is accessible to us through the small range of our senses: what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. But when we perceive without interpreting or mental labelling, which means without adding thought to our perceptions, we can actually still sense the deeper connectedness underneath our perception of seemingly separate things. The other more serious reason for the illusion of separateness is compulsive thinking. It is when we are trapped in incessant streams of compulsive thinking that the universe really disintegrates for us, and we lose the ability to sense the interconnectedness of all that exists. Thinking cuts reality up into lifeless fragments. Extremely unintelligent and destructive action arises out of such a fragmented view of reality. However, there is an even deeper level to the whole than the interconnectedness of everything in existence. At that deeper level, all things are one. It is the Source, the un-manifested one Life. It is the timeless intelligence that manifests as a universe unfolding in time. The whole is made up of existence and Being, the manifested and the unmanifested, the world and God. So when you become aligned with the whole, you become a conscious part of the interconnectedness of the whole and its purpose: the emergence of consciousness into this world. As a result, spontaneous helpful occurrences, chance encounters, coincidences, and synchronistic events happen much more frequently. Carl Jung called synchronicity “an acausal connecting principal.” This means there is no causal connection between synchronicistic events on our surface level of reality. It is an outer manifestation of underlying intelligence behind the world of appearances and a deeper connectedness that our mind cannot understand. But we can be conscious participants in the unfolding of that intelligence, the flowering consciousness. Nature exists in a state of unconscious oneness with the whole. This is why virtually no animals were killed in the tsunami disaster of 2004. Being more in touch with totality than humans, they could sense the tsunami's approach long before it could be seen or heard and so had time to withdraw to higher terrain. Doing this because of that is the mind's way of cutting up reality; whereas nature lives in unconscious oneness with the whole. It is our purpose and destiny to bring a new dimension into this world by living in conscious oneness with the totality and conscious alignment with universal intelligence.
A New Earth
ConsciousnessConsciousness is already conscious. It is the un-manifested, the eternal. The universe is only gradually becoming conscious. Consciousness itself is timeless and therefore does not evolve. It was never born and does not die. When consciousness becomes the manifested universe, it appears to be subject to time and to undergo an evolutionary process. No human mind is capable of comprehending fully the reason for this process. But we can glimpse it within ourselves and become a conscious participant in it. Consciousness is the intelligence, the organizing principle behind the arising form. Consciousness has been preparing forms for millions of years so that it can express itself through them in the manifested. Although the unmanifested realm of pure consciousness could be considered another dimension, it is not separate from this dimension of form. Forms and formlessness interpenetrate. The unmanifested flows into this dimension as awareness, inner space, Presence. How does it do that? Through the human form that becomes conscious and thus fulfills its destiny. The form was created for this higher purpose, and millions of other forms prepared the ground for it. Consciousness incarnates into the manifested dimension, and it becomes form. When it does so, it enters a dreamlike state. Intelligence remains, but consciousness becomes unconscious of itself. It loses itself in form, becomes identified with forms. This could be described as the descent of the divine into matter. At that stage in the evolution of the universe, the entire outgoing movement takes place in that dreamlike state. Glimpses of awakening come only at the moment of dissolution of an individual form, death. And then begins the next incarnation, the next identification with form, the next individual dream that is part of the collective dream. When an animal or human is about to die, for a brief moment its consciousness awakens to its essential immortal nature as consciousness. This consciousness then re-incarnates into another form. The human ego represents the final stage of universal sleep, the identification with form. It was a necessary stage in the evolution of consciousness. The human brain is a highly differentiate form through which consciousness enters this dimension. It contains approximately one hundred billion nerve cells. The brain does not create consciousness, but consciousness created the brain, the most complex physical form on earth, for its expression. When the brain gets damaged, it does not mean you lose consciousness. It means consciousness can no longer use that form to enter this dimension. You cannot lose consciousness because it is, in essence, who you are. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.
Awakened DoingAwakened doing is the outer aspect of the next stage in the evolution of consciousness on our planet. The ego is becoming more and more dysfunctional at this juncture. In any situation and in whatever you do, your state of consciousness is the primary factor; the situation and what you do is secondary. “Future” success is dependent upon and inseparable from the consciousness out of which the action emanate. That can be either the reactive force of the ego or the alert attention of awakened consciousness. All truly successful action comes out of that field of alert attention, rather than from ego and conditioned, unconscious thinking.
The Three Modalities of Awakened DoingThe three modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. One of them should be operating when you are engaged in doing anything at all. If you are not, then you are creating suffering for yourself and others.
AcceptanceThis is what this situation requires me to do, so I do it willingly. This is the acceptance of what I have to do at that moment. This surrendered action will bring peace, that subtle energy vibration, as well.
EnjoymentEnjoyment is the second modality of awakened doing. It will replace wanting as the motivating power behind people's actions. Through enjoyment, you link into that universal creative power itself. When you make the present moment the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do increases dramatically. Joy is the dynamic aspect of Being. When the creative power of the universe becomes conscious of itself, it manifests as joy. You will enjoy any activity in which you are fully present, any activity that is not just a means to an end. It is the deep sense of aliveness that flows into the activity. The aliveness is one with who you are. This means that when you enjoy doing something, you are really experiencing the joy of Being in its dynamic aspect. That is why anything you enjoy doing connects you with the power behind all creation. The joy of Being is the joy of being conscious. Awakened consciousness then takes over from ego and begins to run your life. Some of those people who, through creative action, enrich the lives of many others simple do what they enjoy most without wanting to achieve or become anything through that activity.
EnthusiasmEnthusiasm means there is deep enjoyment in what you do plus the added element of a foal or a vision that you work toward. When you add a goal to the enjoyment of what you do, the energy-field or vibrational frequency changes A certain degree of what we might call structural tension is now added to enjoyment, and so it turns into enthusiasm. At the height of creative activity fueled by enthusiasm, there will be enormous intensity and energy behind what you do. You will feel like an arrow that is moving toward the target--- and enjoying the journey. Unlike stress, the enthusiasm has a high energy frequency and so resonates with the creative power of the universe. With enthusiasm you will find that you do not have to do it all by yourself. Sustained enthusiasm brings into existence a wave of creative energy, all you have to do then is “ride the wave.” Enthusiasm brings an enormous empowerment into what you do, so that all those who have not accessed that power would look upon your achievements in awe and may equate them with who you are. Enthusiasm never opposes. It is non-confrontational. Its activity does not create winners and losers. It is based on inclusion, not exclusion, of others. It does not need to use and manipulate people, because it is the power of creation itself and so does not need to take energy from some secondary source. The ego's wanting always tries to take from something or from someone; enthusiasm gives out of its own abundance. When enthusiasm encounters obstacles in the form of adverse situations or uncooperative people, it never attacks but walks around them or by yielding or embracing turns the opposing energy into a helpful one, the foe into a friend. Enthusiasm and the ego cannot coexist. One implies the absence of the other. Enthusiasm knows where it is going, but at the same time, it is deeply at one with the present moment, the source of its aliveness, its joy, and its power. Enthusiasm “wants” nothing because it lacks nothing. IT is one with life and no matter how dynamic the enthusiasm-inspired activities are, you do not lose yourself in them. And there remains always a still but intensely alive space at the centre of the wheel, a core of peace in the midst of activity that is both the source of all and untouched by it all. Enjoyment of what you are doing, combined with a goal or vision that you work toward, becomes enthusiasm. Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment needs to remain the focal point of your attention; otherwise, you will fall out of alignment with universal purpose. Make sure your vision or goal is not an inflated image of yourself and therefore a concealed form of a ego. Also make sure your goal is not focused on having this or that. Make sure your goals are dynamic, that is to say, point toward an activity that you are engaged in and through which you are connected to other human beings as well as to the whole. See yourself inspiring countless people with your work and enriching their lives. Feel how that activity enriches or deepens not only your life but that of countless others. Feel yourself being an opening through which energy flows from the unmanifested Source of all life through you for the benefit of others. All this implies that your goal or vision is then already a reality within you, on the level of mind and of feeling. Enthusiasm is the power that transfers the mental blueprint into the physical dimension. That is the creative use of mind, and that is why there is no wanting involved. You cannot manifest what you want; you can only manifest what you already have. You may get what you want through hard work and stress, but that is not the way of the new earth. The entire above dissertation is taken from Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth. Commentary Tolle quotes a great deal from the bible, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions, but most of his core teachings are from Buddhism. The paying of attention to the now as one carries on in life is the practice of Vipassana. The practice of watching the breath is Anapasati in Buddhism. Then in meditation practice, one has to empty the mind until it becomes void. This is Shikantaza: merely sitting to empty one's mind of thoughts. One does it by watching one's thoughts, one by one, until there are no more thoughts present. At this point one then falls perpendicularly downwards into the void or emptiness to be with the substratum of the unmanifested Source. All these teachings are totally Buddhistic in character. In fact this teaching is exactly what the The Heart Sutra says: Avalokestesvara bodhisattva, when practising deeply the prana paramitta, perceived that all five skandas in their own being are empty, and was saved from all suffering.